Blackout takes place following the events of Snowblind, book one in the Dark Iceland series. Blackout begins with the discovery of a body: a man has been brutally beaten to death on a bright summer’s night. A young reporter in Reykjavik leaves the city, heading north to investigate the crime. The victim has ties to Siglufjordur, and Ari Thor and his colleagues find themselves in the middle of a case that becomes murkier with each passing moment. What secrets did the dead man hold? Why is this young reporter so invested in this case? And what larger implications will this case have for Ari Thor’s town? Blackout is an atmospheric, chilling story of past horrors and their present-day implications.
Jonasson...balances Blackout between characters and plot, allowing each to have equal driving time. The basic whodunit concerning Elias’ murder is perplexing and puzzling. Jonasson gives the reader a bit more than he gives Ari, at least initially, but it really doesn’t help those who like to ferret out the solution. That’s fine. At least half of the attraction of a good mystery is getting tugged along to the end, a task that Jonasson performs in skillful fashion. The book’s real draw is Iceland itself. As the story plays out, Iceland is in the midst of its 24-hour arctic summer, which, in turn, is being transformed into total darkness due to untimely (though not entirely unexpected) volcanic eruptions. The contrast of the weather and geology compares with the moods of the characters, all of whom are memorable.
Blackout follows young police officer Ari Thor Arason as he moves and gets used to life in small-town northern Iceland ... Blackout broadens the narrative to follow the simultaneous investigation of journalist Isrun, plus opens the point of view to several other characters who have unique insight in the situation. Although this broadening of the number of involved characters results in this novel losing a bit of the tight, focused intensity of the previous books, it does allow Jonasson to further explore the characters. As I have said in past reviews about this series, the characters are absolutely one of the strongest parts of these stories. Not only are they interesting and flawed, but they are capable of a degree of self-awareness and self-reflection that you don’t often see ... If you have not yet started on the Dark Iceland series, pick up Snowblind, and be sure to also pick up this newest edition to the series! Blackout will grip you.
Set about two years later than Snowblind and two or three years before the events in Nightblind, this novel takes place during the short Icelandic summer ... An American tourist gets lost and finds a man brutally beaten to death. The victim turns out to be Elias, a contractor working on a new tunnel that will end Siglufjörđur’s main problem – there’s only one road in and out. He also had a side-job building a house for a disgraced doctor, struck off the register for operating while drunk. Could Elias have been killed by mistake by a relative of one of the doctor’s dead patients? There are many other avenues to explore as well. Elias was not well liked and may have been involved in some shady dealings, laundering money via a charity that he was suddenly keen on helping out ... The style is even more assured and polished than in the debut Snowblind. The author manages to steer us through quite a large cast of characters with a steady hand and minimal confusion. There are a few weaknesses though...if you were expecting to see more of Ari Thor in police action, instead of just vacillating over how best to approach his girlfriend, you may be disappointed ... Nevertheless, this remains a very readable crime series, full of atmosphere, and a lingering sense of sadness.
Jónasson’s captivating third Ari Thór Arason whodunit to be translated into English finds Ari Thór, a policeman in the small Icelandic town of Siglufjördur, troubled by his recent breakup with the woman he once considered the only one for him. He’s distracted from his personal woes by a murder case; someone has killed contractor Elías Freysson by smashing him in the face with a length of timber studded with a nail. The victim was known for his charitable work, but the discovery in Freysson’s rooms of a duffel bag stuffed with cash suggests that the man was involved in something underhanded.